Topic 5 Hunger or emotional eating?

Eating is not only meeting energy and nutrient requirements; it also implies an emotional dimension, which could be harmful, if overeating compensates negative emotions as insecurity, anger, stress, boredom, etc. and becomes a habit for children.

Obesity in childhood or adolescence could be associated with eating disorders, so it is crucial an early detection of risk behaviors related to dietary habits. Being unhappy with own body and dieting could put the children at risk.

We refer to eating mindlessly when children are not paying attention to their hunger, how much they are eating, or why they’re eating. It usually occurs with foods that are less healthy, particularly those high in sugar, fat or salt.

Source: Canva

It is important that families promote a proper relation with food since birth. Here are some tips that could be useful to avoid eating mindlessly 

  • In infants promote a responsive feeding and pay attention to hunger and satiety cues. Do not force children to eat.
  • Promote regular mealtimes. Skipping meals altogether may cause you to overeat later in the day.
  • Encourage kids to sit down while they eating,
  • Give children enough time to eat slowly.
  • Have a neutral attitude to food. Do not use foods to reward or to punish
  • During mealtimes, try to avoid playing or any distractions with screens.
  • Avoid eating while children is walking, doing other activities or while parents are driving.
  • Do not let the child eat alone
  • Get kids involved with menu planning, buying and cooking